Former Sunderland defender Steven Caldwell has dismissed the myth that Roy Keane would instil fear in his players during his first stint as a manager.
Steven Caldwell was signed by Sunderland in 2004 and already had 70 appearances in all competitions for the Black Cats when Roy Keane took over as manager at the beginning of the 2006 season.
Caldwell only worked with Keane for a few months but that was enough for the Scottish centre-half to form an opinion of the famously fiery Irishman.
Failing to see eye-to-eye with one another, Caldwell moved on to Burnley while Keane remained in charge at the Stadium of Light for two years.
Discussing his relationship – or lack thereof – with Keane, Caldwell explained why he didn’t appreciate certain comments from the former Republic of Ireland captain after Caldwell left Sunderland.
“He was a difficult man,” Caldwell told Planet Football. “It was his first job and I think he still had a player’s mentality. He could either be really good or nonsensical. I was injured when he came in. I’d done my knee in a game against Birmingham so I didn’t play for a while but then played a number of games.
“I thought it would be okay, but he wanted me to go and brought in Jonny Evans on loan. He formed a great partnership with Nyron Noseworthy and they ended up winning the Championship.
“I went off to Burnley, no hard feelings. You have to move on. Roy isn’t a warm person; I knew him for a few months so maybe I’m not the person to say, but sometimes he would walk straight past you in the corridor, other times he would have a chat with you.
“It was so up and down with him. I think he revels in the character he’s created. He’s also got a brilliant football mind, but it was a tough time in my career.
“We had quite a messy end, and I was saddened by that, but that’s football. I don’t think he handled many relationships well. He was very combustible. Maybe he’s mellowed out now, but as a coach, you have to get to know people and he never took the time to do that.
“The one thing I didn’t like about when I left was that he said I was good at organising parties, nights out and events. I just thought, ‘Well, I was more than that.’
“I had no fear of Roy Keane. The public thinks that everyone is scared of him; I never thought that once. I was more scared of other managers; guys you wouldn’t believe, like Chris Hughton, Walter Smith, these guys are scary.
“But when Roy got into that erratic state, it wasn’t scary, it was weird. There are other people who know him better, but that’s my experience.
“If you shout and shout, eventually people stop listening. Chris was a brilliant guy, and when you gain so much respect for someone, if you let him down or he was angry, it was scary. I wouldn’t mess with him.”